Interior with a Woman Playing a Virginal (c.1660-1667). Emanuel de Witte (Dutch, 1617-1692). Oil on canvas. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.
The complicated spatial construction is achieved by the perspective and the patches of sunlight coming in. It seems as if an amorous situation is being depicted. Playing the instrument is explained as a reference to love. It is also thought that the man in bed, who is listening to the music, is suffering from a disease, namely erotic melancholy, and the music is a medicine against the pain.
A Moor Presenting a Parrot to a Lady (c.1660-70). Nicolaes Berchem (Dutch, 1620-1683). Oil on canvas. Wadsworth Atheneum.
This elaborate painting reflects the Dutch interpretation of Mediterranean life and leisure. An elegantly dressed lady is being courted by an African “Moor.” The exact meaning of this encounter remains ambiguous. It may be an allegory of love and desire, represented by the statue of Venus and Cupid, or an illustration of the five senses.